Does an Extra Marital Affair Affect a Divorce Case?

In any divorce, extra marital affairs, infidelity and “cheating” are always a major issue. Naturally, it adds an emotional charge to any separation. The odds of an amicable settlement (or ongoing relationship) are typically much lower via mediation lawyer services in these cases.

But what impact does an extra marital affair have on a divorce case? What are the legal implications under Pennsylvanian law?

In Pennsylvania, an affair (or “marital misconduct”) cannot be considered when the court divides your marital property.

The exact verbiage of 23 Pa. C.S. §3502 states: “Upon the request of either party in an action for divorce or annulment, the court shall equitably divide, distribute or assign, in kind or otherwise, the marital property between the parties without regard to marital misconduct in such percentages and in such manner as the court deems just after considering all relevant factors.” (emphasis added)

However, an extra marital affair can be a factor when it comes to alimony.

Marital misconduct during the marriage is considered by the court when determining if alimony is proper in a given case (23 Pa. C.S. §3701).

At the same time, the misconduct of one or both of the spouses can have an effect on other factors that the court will consider, while the marital misconduct itself may not be considered.

In the simplest of terms, an affair will not be a factor in dividing your marital property. However, it will be a factor in determining alimony, but it will be far from the only factor.

For more information on this topic or any other topic related to issues of divorce, custody, support or family law in general, please contact us to speak with one of our experienced divorce lawyers.

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